New Releases 25th August 2008

by MV

Single of the Week: Lykke Li – Breaking It Up
Third brilliant single in a row, and on the evidence of her live shows this is only the beginning, for my undisputed artist of the year so far. There’s an oddness to her style which some might characterise as twee, but to me Lykke Li is a serious star in the making. There’s a reserve evident on many of the songs on Youth Novels that it seems like she’s itching to break out of. This re-worked version of the more mannered album track could mark the beginnings of that process. Where she goes next is anyone’s guess, but hopefully it will involve translating more of her irrepresible live energy onto record. I’ll be happy whatever, but she deserves to reach as big an audience as possible.

I’ve run out of superlatives, to be honest, so here’s an extra treat. The clip below begins with a bit of Lykke guesting live with Kleerup on their superb collaboration, Until We Bleed (full version without video here). It then segues into another, slightly more well-known Kleerup track…

Oh to have been there! Still, it’s been a good week…

Little Jackie – The World Should Revolve Around Me
Excellent, breezy, slightly-too-late-for-Summer pop that’s mainly notable for being great, but also for marking a long-overdue return to the mainstream for Imani Coppola. No reason for this not to be massive.

Mystery Jets – Half In Love With Elizabeth
Harking back to the ramshackle oddball-pop of Making Dens, the third single from Twenty-One doesn’t quite hit the highs of its predecessors. Still pretty damn catchy though, hey?

Roots Manuva – Again And Again
The friendly, unthreatening face of UK hip-hop returns. Here as likeable and smile-inducing as ever, with a nice video about cricket thrown in for good measure. Almost certainly impossible to hate.

Red Blooded Women – You Made Your Bed
Is it new girl band season? Trashy, but less bad than City Girls. Not quite the full package, but less dull than the Saturdays. Oh, and it steps up a gear about 2/3rds of the way through, which is what all the best pop songs do. Coincedentally, that’s also the point in the video where they start playing spin the bottle with their vodka. Is this just really cheap soft porn? Time will tell. Out of this torrent of girl bands, we’re bound to get an actually brilliant one at some point soon. Probably.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Dawn Of The Dead
While they’re not really all that, I reckon DIOYY?, daft name aside, are unfairly maligned. This has got a bit of a glossy Duran Duran feel to it, and though the chorus doesn’t really lift off as you’d want it to, it still works for me.

Fujiya & Miyagi – Knickerbocker
I’m not overly familiar with these Brighton-based Krautrock-afficianados, but this is really quite excellent. As repetitive and monotonous as you’d expect, but listen to it a few times and you’ll be wandering around all day with it stuck in your head. Vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory… yep.

Grace Jones – Corporate Cannibal
Self-evidently the most bizarre single anyone has released in 2008. Looking and sounding like a low-rent Doctor Who bad guy, Ms Jones has actually buried a decent, trip-hoppy chorus somewhere in the middle of this record. It’s hard to keep a straight face through the rest of it. But hey, at least it’s different, right?

Sportsday Megaphone – I Think It’s Love
Bedroom-produced low-key casio-disco from Sportsday Megaphone, or Hugh Frost to his mum. No immediate evidence of pop crossover potential, but charming enough and plenty of fun.

Alphabeat – Boyfriend
Here comes a lazy review: it’s much better than 10,000 Nights, but much, much worse than ‘Fascination.’ Needs to loosen up a bit. Cheerful vocals imply fun, but the music doesn’t deliver it.

Manda Rin – DNA
I wanted to like this. Manda had some great (indie-)pop moments with Bis, but this isn’t really up to standard. Dated production, deliberately going for that overdone Tom Tom Club style, but missing the mark. The vocals are moderately charming, but there’s little else to add. Shame. (Apropos of nothing, I’m treating this as an excuse to link to an under-appreciated classic Bis single.

Miley Cyrus – See You Again
I have to confess to almost total ignorance of the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus ‘phenomenon.’ Since I’m not American and/or teenage, this is probably not such a surprising fact. This is solid, if unspectacular, teenpop that has its moments, but a one-note chant in place of a chorus.

Blackout Crew – Put A Donk On It
Pretty much sounds like the Chuckle Brothers off their tits in a recording studio. What else is there to say?

Patrick & Eugene – Don’t Stop
This is a bit too self-consciously quirky, isn’t it? It’s for the same sort of grinning goons who liked that Lemon Jelly song about ducks, isn’t it? Oh how delightfully random, Tarquin! Wrong.

Glasvegas – Daddy’s Gonelr
The time has come when I must stop sitting on the fence about Glasvegas. So here I go… I like sentimental lyrics; I find theirs mawkish. I love Scottish accents in music; I really dislike this guy’s voice. I appreciate wall-of-sound production; I think it adds nothing here. In summary: I don’t get it.